In response to Monday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon, the IRS announced late Tuesday that it is extending the time for filing certain individual tax returns that were due April 15 and paying any tax due until July 15. “Our hearts go out to the people affected by this tragic event. We want victims and others affected by this terrible tragedy to have the time they need to finish their individual tax returns,” IRS Acting Commissioner Steven Miller said in a press release.
The relief is automatic for anyone who lives in Suffolk County in Massachusetts, which includes the city of Boston; it is not limited to those directly affected by the bombings. In addition, outside Suffolk County those who qualify for relief include victims, their families, first responders, and others who were affected, and taxpayers whose tax preparers were adversely affected.
Taxpayers who do not live in Suffolk County can claim the relief by calling 866-562-5227 beginning on Tuesday and identifying themselves before they file a return or make a payment. Eligible taxpayers who receive penalty notices from the IRS can also call this number to have the penalties abated.
The IRS will waive any late filing or late payment penalties as long as taxpayers file and pay by July 15. This relief does not apply to interest, which will continue to apply at the statutory rate of 3% annually, compounded daily (the IRS is not statutorily authorized to abate interest). Taxpayers who want an additional filing extension beyond July 15 to October 15 (but not a payment extension) can file Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, by July 15.
— Sally P. Schreiber ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) is a JofA senior editor.